The L Ron Hubbard Baby Formula (Pt 1) Dangerous Medical Advice from Scientology

roman child rearingl1959 | Ability Magazine Vol 89 pt 1 | L Ron Hubbard
Processing a New Mother | Download as .pdf

L Ron Hubbard’s advice concerning the feeding of infants appeared in the first issue of “Ability” magazine. Over the years, it has been reproduced in “The Scientology Handbook” and is one of the ‘lessons’ in  a ‘course’ for Scientology’s ‘Volunteer Ministers’ that is online to this day.

Hubbard proposed that babies should not be fed with either modern breast milk or powdered formula milk, but on a preparation of barley water fortified with small amounts of homogenised cow’s milk and corn syrup (or honey).

His ‘evidence’ for this claim was based on ‘experience’ he had supposedly acquired in a previous life as a citizen of ancient Rome, when (he claimed) this formula was in use.

There is good medical evidence (which will be provided and  examined in the next two parts of this series) that the use of this formula instead of baby milk is dangerous for a number of reasons. One basic problem is that it lacks sufficient quantities of of iron, vitamin A and vitamin C and its use as recommended by Hubbard leads to acute, damaging and potentially life-threatening conditions such as scurvy and malnutrition.

L Ron Hubbard Gives Dangerous Advice: The Evidence

“Ability” magazine was a crudely produced periodical which commenced ability mag logopublication in 1955. It typically contained articles by L Ron Hubbard (both in his own name and under various pseudonyms) and promotional material for  various books and courses.

In early issues the ‘lectures’ and ‘congresses’ which financed early Scientology were heavily emphasised.

here are download links to a complete run of “Ability” (from 1955- 1967) or just the 1959 issue in which Hubbard’s baby formula is discussed.

The critical passage is:

The most to know about the baby is not to tire him or her unduly for a week or two, feed a protein formula if mother is not breast feeding. This formula is most like human milk. I picked it up on Roman days and have used it ever since. 15 ounces of barley water, (made by boiling barley in water for several hours until there is a thick, pink soup) 10 ounces of homogenized milk, 3 ounces of karo syrup (this formula can be multiplied by any number according to the number of bottles desired, but the ratio remains the same). Evaporated or condensed milk and heavy sugar makes fat not bone. Protein is the thing that heals and makes strong growth. Modern hospital formulas and patent mixes for babies are not just bad, they are criminal.

Hubbard’s advice seems to be perfectly clear.  He did not change his views over time, either. On page 369 of the Volunteer Minister’s Handbook,  published in 1976, Hubbard repeats this advice in the chapter “Healthy Babies” (page 368).

The Volunteer Minister’s Handbook Based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard Healthy Babies

Although the modern emphasis on trade for its own sake may have its points, there is a limit to which it should be pushed. And wrecking a baby’s health, and worrying its mother to an early grave just to collect fees should be frowned upon.

The prepared food used today is guaranteed to upset a baby. It is a powdered mess one is supposed to dissolve in water and feed to the baby. If you ever tasted it, you would agree with the baby. It’s terrible.
More than that, it is total carbohydrate and does not contain the protein necessary to make tissue and bone. It only makes fat. When you see one of these bloated, white, modern babies, know that it is being fed exactly on the doctor’s orders: a diet of mixed milk powder, glucose and water, total carbohydrate.

Breast feeding babies may have a nostalgic background, particularly to a Freudian oriented medico, but real breast milk again is usually a poor ration. Modern mothers smoke and sometimes drink. Smoking makes the milk very musty. Anyway, a nervous modern mother just can’t deliver the right ration. Maybe it’s the pace of the times or the breed, but there are few modern Guernsey-type mothers. So even without drinking or smoking, one should forget breast feeding.

The largest cause of upset in a baby’s early life is just rations. As an old hand at this, I have straightened out more babies who were cross, not sleeping, getting sick and all, than it was easy to keep a record of. These babies were all, just plain hungry. Fed, yeah. But with what? Terrible tasting, high carbohydrate powdered milk solutions, or skim breast milk from an overworked mother. And the little things were ready to toss in their chips. Some had gone into a stupor and just didn’t care anymore. Some were trying to quit entirely. And they all recovered and got alert and healthy when they were given a proper ration.

A ration must contain a heavy percentage of protein. Protein is the budding block for nerves and bones. A soldier, wounded, will not heal without heavy protein intake. Ulcers will not get well without a heavy protein diet being given. To make brain, bone and tissue, the baby must be given protein. And from 2 days old to at least 3 years. That makes strong, pretty, alert babies that sleep well and do well. When I first tackled this problem, it was a personal matter.

I write from the viewpoint of a father, of course, a profession in which I have had experience. I had a little boy who was not going to live and I had to act fast (1) to get him out of the hospital and (2) to discover his trouble and (3) to remedy it. The total time available was less than 24 hours. He was dying.  So (1) I got him out of the hospital, helped by a hot temper and a trifle of promised mayhem. And (2) I found he wouldn’t or couldn’t eat. And (3) I recalled all my dietary and endocrine studies that 1 studied in those places the reporters have now agreed I never attended. Actually I recalled further than that. Roman troops marched on barley. Barley is the highest protein content cereal. And from a deep past I called up a formula.

It is difficult to know where to begin. Suffice it to say that:

  • The fact that baby milk tastes ‘terrible’ to an adult does not mean that “it is guaranteed to upset a baby. In fact, they seem to like it well enough, and thrive on it.
  • Breast milk has evolved over millions of years to become the perfect diet for babies – and also passes on some of the mother’s acquired immunity to the child. It is by no means “a poor ration”.
  • The passage “there are few modern Guernsey-type mothers. So even without drinking or smoking, one should forget breast feeding” is remarkable. Not only is it totally wrong,  comparing women to cows is also condescending and insulting.
  • Fat is actually an essential feature in a  babies diet – it is needed to support the rapid growth of their brain.
  • The claim that Hubbard “called up” his better-than-breast-milk baby formula from a previous life in ancient Roman times does not improve its credibility.

Worse yet, in 1977 Hubbard stated that “Honey can be substituted for the corn syrup” in a  “Hubbard Flag Information Letter” (No 43).  This indicates that he was still committed to the idea – but apparently unaware of the connection between honey and botulism in infants. In 2012 An article in “The journal of human pharmacology and drug therapy” warned that:

Numerous studies have shown that the ingestion of honey is linked with infant botulism. In addition, honey samples across the United States have tested positive for Clostridium botulinum spores and toxins. Such substantial evidence led the CDC to recommend that honey not be given to infants younger than 12 months old. It is important that clinicians be familiar with this risk and should not recommend honey-containing products or supplements or the use of honey as a flavoring agent for infants in this age group.

Despite all of this contrary evidence, the Church of Scientology continues to promote Hubbard’s baby formula, in reprints of his books and online, to the present day.

VM PROne example is particularly worrying. It is a webpage which is part of a programme of ‘training’ for Scientology ‘Volunteer Ministers’. These people insert themselves into disaster relief efforts, principally for PR purposes and to divert victims from psychiatric support and counselling into Scientology training.

It is possible that that the Scientology-based advice they dispense includes the use of Hubbard’s baby formula – which could have lethal consequences after they have left the scene.

Their site teaches the use of Hubbard’s baby formula, and reproduces the recipe along with illustrated preparation instructions (reproduced in the slide-show below). As far as Scientology is concerned, nothing has changed since 1959

Barley Formula: Put about half a cup of whole barley in a piece of muslin. Tie loosely. Boil slowly for 6½ hours in about 4 pints of water. Mix the formula in a ratio of: 15 ounces of barley water, 10 ounces of homogenized milk, 3 ounces of corn syrup.

They also provide detailed instructions for its preparation (complete with photographs which surely date back to 1959).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In Scientology, Hubbard’s Words are Infallible

LRHThe vintage photographs above were likely used on the website because they were approved by L Ron Hubbard. Upon Hubbard’s death in 1986 his word became both Scientology doctrine and the final court of appeal for Scientologists.

Quotations from Hubbard’s writings and recorded lectures are used to justify every significant action that a Scientologist takes. As far as they are concerned, if science and modern medicine contradict the writings of L Ron Hubbard, then science and medicine are wrong.

This often has no practical consequences – for example, while Scientology and science disagree about the age of the universe, this causes no harm. However, in many cases Hubbard’s advice is potentially lethal.

The best publicised example of this is Narconon, a front group for the Church of Scientology which offers ineffective  drug rehabilitation services based on the writings of L Ron Hubbard. Hubbard’s advice on this subject is contrary to current scientific knowledge and clearly wrong – but is still put into practice.   For example, Narconon’s assertion that drugs persist in the fat cells, but can be removed by sweating them out in a Sauna. This is not only false, but the practice can be positively dangerous when applied to recovering addicts. Narconon facilities in the US are mired in controversy.

Hubbard’s baby formula is another example of a fixed belief which is both out of touch with reality and positively dangerous. For example, it lacks sufficient Iron, vitamin A and vitamin C to be fit for purpose.

In part two, we will present evidence that its use has led to infantile scurvy.

In part three we will present evidence that its use has led to  malnutrition, and parents who feed it to their babies o expose them to a number of  other significant risks.

Part One | Part Two | Part Three


6 thoughts on “The L Ron Hubbard Baby Formula (Pt 1) Dangerous Medical Advice from Scientology

  1. horrid belief….luckily I breast fed my children. The cult addicted wasband agreed because it was cheaper (read free) and thus more $ could go to the cult.

    • As a result your babies were well-nourished, acquired some of their mother’s immunity and you enjoyed a bonding experience that blokes (like me) can only envy.

      I suspect you would have done this even if Hubbard’s way had been cheaper – however, I do wonder how much it costs to boil barley in a saucepan for six-and-a-half hours every day or two…

      • well, it would mean buying the barley……anyway, the thing is that the wasband is a dreadful father figure, and poor excuse for a human being. Too bad I chose him to father our children…oh well.

    • Thanks for this link.

      Even the author’s opening Disney reference does not inspire confidence (zippedy-do-dah comes in “The Song of the South”, not “Mary Poppins”) and his suggestion that you can get your baby used to a barley formula by giving it to his/her mother while she is pregnant also seems a little… daft.

      The formula he prepares is, indeed, identical to Hubbard’s. Although he warns against the use of honey – which Hubbard recommended as an alternative to the syrup – on account of the risk of the risk of botulism. The way he notes in the text that “infant botulism in rarely lethal” is also more than a little offhand.

      He also makes the mistake that the fact that the fact that the mixture is high in protein is a good thing. He claims this makes is better than baby formula which is high in fat, so he is not aware that excess protein is laid down as body fat. Finally, (unlike adults) babies need a lot of fat in their diet to support the very rapid growth of their brain.

      Also, he does he seem to understand that, because the mixture is so high in calories, a baby fed on it will not be interested in other foods. This establishes bad dietary habits from the get-go, and prevents the baby from enjoying the nutritional benefits of a varied diet (not to mention the fun of eating new stuff).

      I’ve taken a good look at the ‘clueless father’ site. Unlike the Scientology parent site, I see no reason to suspect that this guy is anything other than… well… clueless. He is big on giving advice (and selling things on the back of it) but short on actual knowledge.

      He may have picked the recipe up from a CofS site, but there is no reason to suppose that he has any ulterior motive in promoting it – it’s even possible that he picked it up from the same source that Hubbard plagiarised. Like Hubbard, this is someone whose confidence vastly exceeds their knowledge.

      I will stick with the advice of the team of four doctors from the children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, who wrote a paper I will examining in the third of final part of my L Ron Hubbard’s baby formula series (which will be online in <2 hours). They actually prepared, then analysed, the barley water 'baby formula'. They concluded that it was seriously deficient not only in vitamins A and C but also in iron, and offered compelling evidence (5 cases of infant malnutrition caused by its overuse) that standard baby formula and proper baby food is a much better option.

      PS – I enjoyed (and recommend) your excellent book.

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